FAQ on the e-APP
1. What is the electronic Apostille Pilot Program? ^
The electronic Apostille Pilot Program aims at developing, promoting and assisting in the implementation of low-cost, operational and secure software for:
- the issuance and use of electronic Apostilles (e-Apostilles), and
- the creation and operation of electronic Registers of Apostilles (e-Registers).
Under the e-APP model for e-Apostilles, a Competent Authority may use out-of-the box PDF technology to issue e-Apostilles and digitally sign these Apostilles with the help of a digital Certificate. As regards the operation of e-Registers, the e-APP offers fully open-source software which enables any Competent Authority to register all of the Apostilles that it issues (independently of whether they have been issued in paper or in electronic form) in an e-Register which is accessible online. Anybody presented with an Apostille (purportedly) issued by that Competent Authority may thus go on-line, access the relevant e-Register and check the origin of the said Apostille with the help of the date and number that the Apostille Certificate bears. It is important to stress that both techniques put forward under the e-APP are suggestions only – any Competent Authority may of course buy or develop any other software to achieve the same results. The open-source software can be downloaded from here. An updated software has been developed by Spain (information in English available here).
2. What is the purpose of the e-APP? ^
The e-APP's core objective is to demonstrate how already existing and widely used technology allows for the easy, straightforward and practical implementation and operation of e-Apostilles and e-Registers. The e-APP is designed to inform and educate interested Competent Authorities, other State officials and relying parties (end-users) about the potential benefits of e-Apostilles and e-Registers and the availability of affordable and secure technology to issue e-Apostilles and operate e-Registers.
3. What are the advantages of the e-APP? ^
- Modernizes the operation of the Apostille Convention by extending it into the electronic medium without changing its nature and without having to change its content;
- Makes the overall operation of the Convention more effective, enhances security and offers a powerful and effective deterrent to fraud;
- Is offered to any Competent Authority at no cost.
4. Does the e-APP comply with the Apostille Convention? ^
Yes. The practical operation of the Apostille Convention was most recently reviewed during a Special Commission meeting held in 2003. Most importantly, the Special Commission noted that the "spirit and letter" of the Apostille Convention does "not constitute an obstacle to the usage of modern technology and that [its] application and operation can be further improved by relying on such technologies."
Competent Authorities that are considering issuing e-Apostilles are encouraged to contact potential receiving jurisdictions to assess whether they will accept e-Apostilles.